5 Life Changes with MS Part 2: Later Developments

In my last post I talked about some of the immediate life changes that occur with Multiple Sclerosis but change doesn’t only happen immediately.  Some aspects of life that change with MS involve slow adaptation and often require a trial and error type learning process.    Some areas of my life that experienced slower developments are:

  • Diet

  • Fitness

  • Work

  • School

  • Plans for the future

These aspects of my life now involve constant modifications  as my MS evolves for the better or worse but overall these changes have been easier to deal with.  They are easier to manage because they all involve making changes to my life to help make having MS easier.

DIET

MS blog, Multiple sclerosis blog, MS lifestyle, MS research, MS diagnosisChanging my diet to healthier foods has been a slow transformation but an incredibly easy one.  I mentioned before that when I was diagnosed with MS I had horrible eating habits being a 20-year-old  full time student with a part-time job and 2 hours of commute time a day.  I lived on fast food.  One thing that worked in my favor was that I enjoyed cooking and was just learning the basics of it.  I’ve made it a habit to seek out healthy recipes or alternatives and try to use as many whole ingredients as possible.  As far as breaking my fast food habit goes, education was key.  I found that once I started educating myself about whatMS blog, Multiple sclerosis blog, MS lifestyle, MS research, MS diagnosis was in all that fast food I didn’t really want it anymore.  I’m not going to lie and say I never eat junk food.  In fact, I just had some delivery pizza for dinner, but when I really think about the ingredient content and calorie count involved I would much rather cook and have controlEducation has also helped in making my choices while grocery shopping, I try to choose the most nutritional option possible.  Another huge change I made to my diet was cutting out soda.  Again, I’m not perfect and I do have the occasional glass, but I actively seek alternatives.  I usually order water with. my meals at restaurants  and keep flavored mineral water and iced tea in my house.  Little changes here and there go a long way with your diet and lead to bigger changes over time.

EXERCISE

 

My exercise habits were a life change that happened slowly through trial and error.  I’ve never been the picture of fitness but I’ve always been an athletic person.  I’ve always been considered a “big girl” but this girl has been a seriously trained dancer for most of my life.  I spent 10-20 hours a week in the dance studio through high school and still tried to take classes at least twice a week up until the time I was diagnosed with MS.  I even auditioned for “So You Think You Can Dance?” just months before my diagnosis and didn’t do have bad in the preliminary rounds.  Needless to say my style has always been to go big or go home.  The first time I took a class after my diagnosis I felt like a dizzy 3-year-old in a tutu again.  The unfortunate placement of my lesions throws my equilibrium off easily and makes any rapid direction change nauseating.  At first I craved that feeling of taking my body to the limit leaving my heart pounding and my lungs breathless.  It only took one time trying to keep up in a familiar dance class to teach me my lesson though.  I miss being a serious dancMS blog, Multiple sclerosis blog, MS lifestyle, MS research, MS diagnosiser terribly but actually find comfort in teaching dance to little ones now.  I may not be able to keep up at an advanced level anymore but teaching preschool ballet is one of the most comical, endearing, and joyful experiences ever!  As far as getting a good workout in goes, I find Pilates, Yoga, and Water Aerobics to be just my speed.  I’ve also recently discovered Ballet based fitness classes that revolve around slow work at the barre that help me feel like a real dancer again 😀

 

 

Work and School

Work and school are two areas of my life that have changed pretty dramatically since my MS diagnosis.  Prior to MS I was working as a shift manager at Jamba Juice And majoring in English with the eventual goal of teaching high school.  Of course one major life changed that has occurred with work is no more heavy lifting so to speak.  I just can’t do the jobs that require me to be on my feet for hours at a time anymore.  I also prefer to not have the stress of a management position now but rather be in a position where I’m responsible for only my own results.  Almost four years ago my future mother-in-law told me about an opening at the school she worked at.  It was as an Education Assistant working as classroom support for Special Education.  I had never considered working with Special Ed. long term before but after a few months in different grade levels I got a chance assignment in a Preschool Special Day Class that changed my life.  I quickly realized I didn’t just enjoy working with these kids but I seemed to be pretty decent at it too!  This is where the change in my education started.  I’m now pursuing a degree in Early Childhood Education with the eventual goal of receiving my Master’s in Occupational Therapy.  I’ve had to learn to pursue this goal cautiously though.  I’ve had a few false startups with school since MS because of over-stressing myself with too heavy of a course load and making myself sick.  As badly as I want to be done I have to remind myself that it’s not a race and the goal is still the goal and it’s worth more with me healthy.  I’m thankful that I can keep up with my job and that it is offering me invaluable experience that no class could teach.  By virtue of chance and circumstance I have more experience in my career field than some with their full degrees.  It may not all be what my original plans were but it’s the best plan for my education and career path that I could imagine now!

 

Plans for the Future

MS blog, Multiple sclerosis blog, MS lifestyle, MS research, MS diagnosisThis thought of letting go of what I had planned and how I lived to make way for a better path for myself has been translated through all aspects of my life.  The aforementioned is just the tip of the iceberg for gradual life changes that happen with MS.  School and work aren’t my only future plans that have changed.  I’m having to consider having children at a younger age for my health, building a house that is more accessible for the “what if” future, and living in the mildest climate possible, just to name a few more.  I know this ever-positive-outlook of mine is sickening sometimes but life with MS has to be approached this way.  Life changes with MS have to happen whether you want them or not so why not make it easier by rolling with the punches?  Why make sour lemonade when you can have it sweeter?!  The forces of change are all yours to own.

MS blog, Multiple sclerosis blog, MS lifestyle, MS research, MS diagnosis

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